Serial No. 106-13


Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce




Table of Contents


Testimony of Charles N. Jeffress, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC *

Testimony of Stuart McMichael, President, Custom Print, Incorporated, Arlington, Virginia–Representing the Printing Industries of America, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Alliance for Workplace Safety *

Testimony of David G. Sarvadi, Attorney-At-Law, Keller and Heckman, Washington, DC–Representing the National Coalition on Ergonomics *

Testimony of James W. Elmer, James W. Elmer Construction Company, Spokane, Washington *

Testimony of Bill Borwegen, Occupational Health and Safety Director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), AFL-CIO, CLC *

Appendix A – Opening Statement of the Honorable Cass Ballenger (R-NC), Chairman, Subcommittee on Workforce Protections *

Appendix B – Written Statement of Charles N. Jeffress, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety And Health, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC *

Appendix C – Written Statement of Stuart McMichael, President, Custom Print, Incorporated, Arlington, Virginia–Representing the Printing Industries of America, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Alliance for Workplace Safety *

Appendix D – Written Statement of David G. Sarvadi, Attorney-At-Law, Keller and Heckman, Washington, DC–Representing the National Coalition on Ergonomics; Supplemental Materials Submitted for the Record–Letter of June 15, 1999, from David G. Sarvadi to Chairman Ballenger *

Appendix E – Written Statement of James W. Elmer, James W. Elmer Construction Company, Spokane, Washington *

Appendix F – Written Statement of Bill Borwegen, Occupational Health and Safety Director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), AFL-CIO, CLC *

Appendix G – Written Statement of Earl Bradley, President, EBAA Iron, Inc., Eastland, Texas *

Appendix H – Written Statement of Robert L. Fleckenstein, President, Summit Contractors, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida *

Table of Indexes *





House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Workforce Protections,

Committee on Education and the Workforce, Washington, DC


The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1:00 p.m., in room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable Cass Ballenger [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.

Present: Representatives Ballenger, Johnson, Isakson, Owens, Woolsey, and Kucinich.

Also Present: Representative Nethercutt (not a member of the Subcommittee/Committee).

Majority Staff Present: Gary L. Visscher, Workforce Policy Counsel; Ashley Rehr, Professional Staff Member; and Karen A. Wayson, Assistant to the Workforce Policy Counsel.

Minority Staff Present: Peter Rutledge, Senior Legislative Associate; Maria Cuprill, Legislative Associate; and Shannon McNulty, Staff Assistant.


Mr. Ballenger. A quorum being present, the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections will come to order. According to Rule 12(b) of the Committee Rules, any oral opening statements at the hearings are limited to the Chairman and the Ranking Minority Member. If other Members have opening statements, they will be included in the printed hearing record. This will allow us to hear from our witnesses sooner and will help Members keep up to their schedules. Without objection, all Members’ and witnesses’ written statements will be included in the hearing record.

Today, the Subcommittee is meeting to review the Occupational and Safety and Health Administration’s regulatory agenda for the 106th Congress. I would like to take a moment to welcome our witnesses and to say that we appreciate their willingness to take time out of their busy schedule to testify here today.

This is the Subcommittee's first hearing in this Congress on OSHA, so I appreciate the fact that the Assistant Secretary for OSHA, Charles Jeffress, is here with us as our leadoff witness. I hope we can have a useful discussion about OSHA's agenda and some of our concerns with it.

Let me say that I appreciate the current Assistant Secretary's emphasis, as outlined in his written testimony, on expanding consultation, partnership and outreach programs. When I became Chairman in 1995 and began pushing for more balance between cooperative programs and enforcement by OSHA, a lot of rhetoric was used against us, including by the Clinton Administration, claiming that changing OSHA's "enforcement-only" strategy would increase worker injuries and death. The Clinton Administration even claimed at one time to know exactly how many more injuries and deaths would occur if OSHA put more resources into cooperative approaches. But out of fear of the alternatives, or whatever, the Clinton Administration did move in that direction. The result was not more injuries, but fewer. Let me quote the conclusion from a recent study published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

OSHA’s renewed emphasis on outreach, partnering, and working cooperatively with employers . . . complemented market influences affecting industry, namely escalating costs for workers’ compensation programs and the realization that corrective action was needed to reduce workplace accidents. The OSHA reforms reinforced and supported industry initiatives and contributed to the decline in occupational injury and illness rates.

So I think that the results have vindicated our efforts to push OSHA towards cooperative and consultative approaches, and I appreciate the current Assistant Secretary's support for, and interest in, expanding those cooperative and outreach programs.

I note that the Administration's budget calls for an increase in federal compliance assistance as well as increases in federal enforcement, but that it proposes no increase in the state small business consultation program. Just last year Congress, on a bipartisan basis, with the support of the Administration, indicated support for the effectiveness of state consultation programs when we enacted Public Law 105-197 as the first amendment to the OSH Act. So I was surprised and disappointed that this program was the only part of OSHA's budget for which the Administration did not propose an increase for the year 2000. I hope that in the end we will be able to give that program at least as much an increase as any other part of OSHA's program because it provides a very valuable service for small business, where the need for assistance and outreach is often the greatest.

Having commended you generally, however, on your emphasis on cooperative and partnering programs, let me say that the other part of your agenda, the regulatory part, is a real disappointment. I am sure that you have some pressure over there to go forward with the ergonomic standard. The fact is the proposed standard illustrates exactly what we have been saying all along, that there isn't enough science on which to base a standard. Let me clarify what I mean by that.

If the question for a regulation were, Is there some relationship between workplace motions and so-called musculoskeletal disorders? there would be room for debate about whether or not an adequate scientific basis exists. You would point to the NIOSH report and the National Academy of Sciences workshop and say there is. We would argue whether either of those was really thorough and balanced. We wonder. But that is not the question for a regulation. The question you need to be able to answer before you regulate is, How much of a given motion, that is, lifting, pushing or whatever, is likely to result in a serious injury? As far as I know, there is little if any scientific evidence regarding that question.

As a result, under OSHA's draft standard, I as an employer am faced with the following situation. I have an employee who complains of back pain or muscle strain and insists that it came from lifting some boxes at work. I don't know for sure what caused the his pain, but rather than investigate his off-work activities and so on, I assume that he is correct. Now I have an employee with a work-related musculoskeletal disorder.

Under this standard, what do I have to do? I have to have an ergonomics program, and I have to do everything feasible to eliminate the possibility that the employee or any other employee will get a sore back or muscle strain in the future. What does "everything feasible" mean? I don't know, and the standard doesn't tell me. I do know that OSHA generally considers everything short of forcing an entire industry to close down as being feasible, so I spend millions of dollars retrofitting my equipment to eliminate as much as possible any lifting that my employees do. Of course, my spending millions of dollars won’t actually prevent an employee from having more back pain if he’s getting it from sleeping on a bad mattress, even though he is telling me that he’s getting it from lifting or whatever he is doing at work.

Charles, I would welcome your response. Tell me where my example is wrong. Without more specific information about the relationship between repetitive motions and injuries, employers will be faced with an unknown and unknowable obligation. To say that many employers have successfully reduced ergonomics-related injuries doesn't substitute for the kind of reliable, empirical information that is necessary to write a standard.

By itself, the ergonomic standard would be bad enough, but the safety and health program regulation also leaves a lot of employers, including me, wondering what it means. It sure looks like it gives OSHA inspectors an awful lot of discretion. As I have told you before, I worry when a government inspector has that much discretion, that is, when you impose a requirement like this one, and I am quoting straight out of the proposed safety and health program rule: "Employers are required to have a systematic hazard and compliance analysis and training of employees every time a change in the workplace conditions indicate a new hazard may be present." Well, that seems awfully subjective. That might be every day, or it might not. It obviously depends on how much of a change we are talking about. I am left to guess, and I have no reason to think that what I think it means is what the OSHA inspector will think it means. It isn't good enough just to have faith that OSHA will be reasonable.

The other major new rule that OSHA is considering is the revisions in the injury and illness record-keeping requirements. I know that you have been working on that rule for a while, and my concern is two-fold. First, while there are good reasons for revising the record-keeping regulation, there have been a number of objections to some of the specific provisions of the proposed rule, particularly from the construction industry and from small business. I hope those will be addressed in the final rule. Second, since OSHA began working on this rulemaking, the purpose of the injury and illness records has changed. OSHA is now using the injury and illness records to target inspections. It seems to me that the regulations should reflect this change, particularly by narrowing the definition of work-relatedness and excluding minor injuries. Otherwise, you have a situation where OSHA's effort to target the more hazardous worksites is lost because little or no differentiation is made as to the seriousness of the injury.

So I look forward to the discussion of these three issues, as well as other issues pertaining to OSHA. Again I appreciate all of you coming to testify today.

I now yield to the distinguished Ranking Member, Mr. Owens, for any opening statement that he wishes to make.

[The written statement of Chairman Ballenger is attached as Appendix A.]


Mr. Owens. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I don't exactly have a treatise on the subject like you, but I do have an opening statement.


Mr. Chairman, I would like to welcome Mr. Jeffress to today's hearing and congratulate him and his staff for finally, after 20 years, planning to issue a proposed regulation on ergonomics this summer. As you know, OSHA can move ahead with its proposed regulation on ergonomics. For the record, I would like to submit the Department of Health and Human Services fiscal year 1999 appropriations language and also the House committee report language and an October 19, 1998, letter from Chairman Bob Livingston and Ranking Member David Obey to Secretary Herman.

[The materials were not submitted for the official hearing print. Should anything be submitted for the record, it will be kept in the Committee’s official archive hearing file.]

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders account for 34 percent of all lost workday injuries and illnesses. These disorders cost employers between $15 billion and $20 billion in workers' compensation costs each year, one out of every three dollars spent on worker's compensation. These are injuries that are preventable, and I commend the agency for finally moving forward. Let me repeat that, Mr. Chairman. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders account for 34 percent of all lost workday injuries and illnesses. These disorders cost employers between $15 billion and $20 billion in workers' compensation costs each year, one out of every three dollars spent on workers' compensation.

In your treatise, you did mention that you appreciated scientific evidence and empirical data, et cetera, and I welcome that with great delight since the way your party has handled statistical sampling on the centers has led to rumors being circulated that you don't believe in science and you want to go back to the dark ages and reject science. This data from the workers' compensation statistics is reliable, empirical, and it is good dollar and cents information. This is overwhelming information.

I also want to welcome our other witnesses today. I am particularly pleased that we are able to afford Mr. Borwegen an opportunity to testify today. I share his concern that OSHA has not given the attention to the service sector that it deserves.

According to the study published in the American Medical Association Journal, Archives of Internal Medicines, July 28, 1997, entitled "Occupational Injury and Illness in the United States, Estimates of Costs, Morbidity and Mortality," approximately 6,500 job-related deaths from injury, 3.2 million non-fatal injuries, 60,300 deaths from disease, and 862,200 illnesses are estimated to occur annually in the civilian American workforce. The total costs were estimated to be $171 billion. Injuries cost $145 billion; illnesses, $26 billion. These estimates are likely to be low because they ignore costs associated with pain and suffering as well as those within home care provided by family numbers, and because the numbers of occupational injuries and illnesses are likely to be undercounted.

OSHA can be effective. For example, a study entitled "Does Regulatory Enforcement Work," by Wayne B. Gray and John T. Schultz, found that in three years following an OSHA inspection that results in penalties, injuries and illnesses dropped an average of 22 percent. Ensuring worker safety is a sacred responsibility of our government. OSHA's mission is to save lives, prevent injuries and illnesses, and protect the health of American Workers, and that remains as a vital mission today. I yield back my time.



Mr. Ballenger. Thank you. Before I introduce our panel of witnesses, I would like to recognize Congressman George Nethercutt, who represents the 5th District of Washington, and who will be introducing our fourth witness today. I thank you for being here.

Now let me introduce our witnesses. Our first witness today will be my good friend, I hope, Charles Jeffress, the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Our second witness is Mr. Stewart McMichael, President of Custom Print, Incorporated, who will be discussing issues associated with safety and health programs. Next we will hear from David Sarvadi, an attorney with Keller and Heckman, who will be representing the National Coalition on Ergonomics.

I now turn to Congressman Nethercutt for an introduction.


Mr. Nethercutt. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for allowing me to sit on this panel. I am a member of the Appropriations Committee and feel honored to have an opportunity to introduce a constituent of mine from eastern Washington, Mr. James W. Elmer, who not only is a fine person who has been involved very extensively in the construction industry, but also is a small businessman and is uniquely situated, I think, to present good testimony to this subcommittee on the issues that are before you. I thank you for welcoming him, and I thank you for giving me the courtesy and the opportunity to introduce him.


Mr. Ballenger. Considering that you are on Appropriations, you owe me one. Thank you, Mr. Nethercutt.

Our final witness today will be Mr. Bill Borwegen, the Occupational Health and Safety Director for the Service Employees International Union.

I thank all of you for being here today, but before you start presenting your testimony, I would like to remind the Members that we will be asking our questions of the witnesses after the entire panel has testified. In addition, Committee Rule 2, imposing a 5-minute limit on all questions, will be applied.

That said, Mr. Jeffress, you may begin your testimony.



Mr. Jeffress. Thank you my good friend. Mr. Chairman, before I start, let me commend you and Mr. Owens on your handling of the phrase work-related musculoskeletal disorders. You will forgive me if I refer to them as ergonomic-related injuries in the course of my presentation.

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am pleased to come before you today to discuss our efforts in OSHA to protect American workers. When I appeared before the subcommittee last April, I described how OSHA is changing the way it does business. Today, I want to share with you some of what has happened over the last 12 months as well as to project our priorities for the next year.

First, as you will note from the chart here to my right, for the fifth consecutive year, the rate of occupational injuries and illnesses in this country has declined. In fact, the rate you see there for 1997 is the lowest ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics since they first began reporting this information in the early 1970's. The improvement is particularly impressive when you consider that for the past 5 years, we have had an expanding economy with a lot of new and inexperienced workers coming into the workforce. Those are the workers most likely to be hurt. When you have that kind of growth and that kind of reduction in injuries and illnesses, it is a remarkable achievement. It’s the first time we have seen this kind of reduction in injuries and illnesses while the economy has been expanding. I credit the millions of American workers and millions of employers who have worked together to achieve that kind of reduction. I praise them on their effort and their commitment to safety and health. I am glad that OSHA and our 25 state partners around the country have helped to be a catalyst in focusing attention on safety and health.

Even with this decline, though, many challenges remain. Still, last year 6,000 American workers died on the job and more than 6 million were hurt on the job. Many thousands more died as a result of exposure to toxic substances that they encountered in the workplace, but deaths came much later, after they had left the workplace. Much remains to be done. Your OSHA administration is committed to achieving ever-greater protections for American workers.

In order to accomplish the goals of our strategic plan that we have adopted pursuant to GPRA, we have four priorities in the agency for this year. First is creative partnerships. Second is strong enforcement. Third is improved rulemaking. Fourth is expanded outreach and education.

OSHA will continue to form partnerships with workers, employers, insurance companies, trade associations, safety and health professionals, and anyone else interested in working with us and improving workplace conditions. In construction, I am proud to tell you we have a nationwide partnership agreement with the Associated General Contractors and we are working on one with the Associated Builders and Contractors. As a matter of fact, we have a meeting next week in my office with the Printing Industries of America on a partnership between us on expanding safety and health programs like their Printguard, for which the Printing Industries of America presented this to me. "In appreciation of your efforts to protect the one million employees of America's printing industry."

We are working hard to develop partnerships with employers, with associations, with the workers across the country to try to improve workplace safety and health and reduce the number of people injured on the job. Last November, we put on a conference here in Washington with some of our partners from around the country to put on display the kind of cooperative efforts that are working to reduce injuries and illnesses. Earlier this month, in cooperation with the Small Business Administration, we held a forum to explain to small businesses and to representatives of trade associations and small businesses the kinds of assistance that are available from OSHA to assist people to reduce injuries and illnesses in their workplaces. We will take this on the road during small business week in May and have regional conferences around the country where we can display and talk with small businesses about how we can help reduce injuries and illnesses in their workplaces.

Our premier partnership program, of course, is the Voluntary Protection Program, which you have heard about in previous years, where we recognize exemplary employers with the very best records in safety and health. We added 92 sites to the list of VPP employers last year. We have over 500 employers today participating in this program. Collectively, those employers are saving more than $135 million every year because their rates are lower than the average for their industries. Their rates are lower because they have exemplary programs. And promoting safety and health programs is what we are all about. We are doing that through rules, we are doing that through education, we are doing that every way we can.

Our second priority is strong enforcement. Our credibility requires balance. We need both the partnership and the enforcement. We must pursue those who ignore the rules and cost employees their lives or their health. We have instituted a targeting program to target for inspection first those employers with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses, and in the coming year, we intend to bolster that program.

Our third priority is improving the rulemaking process. We are working smarter in developing standards. Our standards are emphasizing outcomes rather than simply layers of requirements. As of June 1998, the agency had eliminated over 1,000 pages of outdated regulations resulting in over $10 million in savings annually for American businesses. We are also doing "lookback" reviews of our standards to determine how effective they are in saving lives and whether we should consider changing them. This year, we plan to publish a proposed rule for safety and health programs, which I am sure we will talk about more in the question-and-answer session. We will finalize a revision of the agency's record-keeping rules, which I am sure we will talk about more as well. These are what we call "building block" standards because they are fundamental to workplace protection.

Ergonomics is perhaps the most important standard we intend to propose this year. As Mr. Owens said, work-related musculoskeletal disorders account for a third of all lost workday cases in this country. It costs employers $15 billion to $20 billion each year just in workers' compensation and medical payments alone. The National Academy of Sciences has found that these injuries are related to conditions at work, and there are interventions that will reduce them. The nation's leading society of occupational physicians, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, has written me a letter urging us to move forward saying that there is sufficient reason to believe an adequate scientific foundation for OSHA to proceed with the proposal and no reason for OSHA to delay. Employers, workers, health professionals, and scientists have found that ergonomic-related injuries are related to conditions at work. There is enough reason to move forward, and we intend to do so.

Our fourth priority is for expanded education and outreach. As the Chairman noted, this is the largest single program increase in the fiscal year 2000 budget by President Clinton. We plan to place a compliance assistance specialist within reach of every American business and within reach of every American worker. We will have these specialists in every federal OSHA office dedicated exclusively to providing technical assistance and advice to businesses and to workers on how to protect lives at work.

Part of our education and outreach is through the Internet. Our interactive software advisors are some of our most popular materials for technical assistance. The latest edition is the Hazard Awareness Advisor, which is designed to help particularly small employers locate hazards in the workplace. This advisor works so well and has become so popular that even some of our critics have adopted it. In fact, if you visit the National Federation of Independent Business's website today, you will find a hotlink to the Hazard Awareness Advisor on the OSHA website. So I can tell you, I believe we are reaching out. I believe we are forming partnerships. When some of our critics direct people to our information, that tells me that we are getting where I think collectively we want to go in achieving more emphasis and better attention to safety and health in the workplace.

Mr. Chairman, I believe the new OSHA is an impressive story. Since the agency was reinvented in 1995, we have seen injury and illness rates decline. We have achieved a balance between enforcement and cooperation. We are combining tough enforcement with creative partnership and results-driven management. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today, and I am sure I will have the opportunity to respond to some of your questions individually.

[The written statement of Mr. Jeffress is attached as Appendix B.]


Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. Jeffress.

Mr. McMichael, go ahead.


TESTIMONY OF STUART MCMICHAEL, PRESIDENT, CUSTOM PRINT, INCORPORATED, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA–Representing the Printing Industries of America, The National Federation of Independent Business, and The Alliance for Workplace Safety

Mr. McMichael. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and Members of the subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to testify here today on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's proposed safety and health program standard.

I am Stu McMichael, owner of Custom Print of Arlington, Virginia, a commercial printer that specializes in high quality, environmentally friendly printing. I have 27 employees, and we are a union shop. Today, I am also representing the Printing Industries of America and the Alliance for Workplace Safety.

Just three years ago last week, President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and EPA's Administrator Carol Browner held a press conference in my shop to announce the results of the Administration's internal review process with respect to the National Performance Review of how government works and who it should work. While my business provided the backdrop for the press conference because of our environmental leadership, the words spoken that day by President Clinton were intended to reflect his view of how government agencies should work.

In my experience, the EPA has done a pretty good job of getting what the President had in mind. EPA has worked with industry sectors on new initiatives and has set out on outreach programs that have been very successful, and in my opinion has done more than any other agency to recreate itself in the President's image.

I am here today because I believe that the President was right, but OSHA is going in the other direction. President Clinton stated that we need to work as partners not adversaries, protect people not bureaucracy, promote results not rules, get action not rhetoric, and whenever possible embrace common sense. I have read OSHA's draft safety and health program standard, and I cannot see how it meets a single one of the President's criteria for good government. This draft standard is nothing more than the same old command-and-control approach that we have seen coming out of federal agencies for years, and in my opinion, it is simply the wrong approach to achieve results.

A great deal has been written about the draft standard that concerns business owners, and I would like to address a number of these concerns today. While I was preparing my testimony, I had a chance to review the regulatory analysis of OSHA's safety and health program rule provided by the Small Business Administration. According to the report, there is little evidence to suggest that the states that have implemented safety and health programs have achieved any results to indicate that they are successful in reducing deaths and injuries. Isn't it odd that just three years ago, President Clinton stated that we have got to get away from a one-size-fits-all mentality, but it appears to be precisely what we face with this draft standard. OSHA states that the standard will impact approximately 4.2 million facilities, yet there is no consideration for the differences between large and small facilities, high and low hazardous industries, workplaces with good safety records, and consideration for companies that have established successful safety and health programs.

In my case, I have an ongoing safety and health program that has resulted in my company getting every possible discount that our workmen's compensation insurers can give. My modification rate is .77, which is very low for our industry. I am very proud of our safety plan and of our safety record. Custom Print has not had an industrial accident in 12 years. Under this draft standard, I would have to change my program and do it OSHA's way, even if my way has clearly been successful for my employees and my company.

A fellow printer, Katherine Gekker of The Huffman Press in Alexandria, Virginia, took part in OSHA’s Small Business Advisory Panel’s review process on the draft standard. She and others expressed deep concern about the apparent underestimation of costs associated with implementing the draft standard. Ms. Gekker believed that OSHA had underestimated the cost of developing the plan and implementing the employee participation and training requirements in her company by at least half.

OSHA has a tremendous opportunity to put action behind President Clinton's words for a better not bigger government. He said we need to work with each other as partners, not adversaries. As I speak here today, on behalf of myself and other business owners across the country, I hope OSHA reassesses the comments it has received in stakeholders' meetings, from the Small Business Advisory Panel, and from individual business owners to develop a program where we are partners, not adversaries, in improving worker safety.

Thank you.

[The written statement of Mr. McMichael is attached as Appendix C.]


Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. McMichael.

Mr. Sarvadi, you may start.


TESTIMONY OF DAVID G. SARVADI, Attorney-at-Law, Keller and Heckman, Washington, DC–Representing the NATIONAL COALITION ON ERGONOMICS

Mr. Sarvadi. Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, and guests, my name is David Sarvadi. I am honored to participate in this process to examine the activities of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in pursuing rulemaking on the subject of ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders. I, like Mr. Jeffress, have trouble with the words, too, so I will call them MSDs. I have been working with the National Coalition on Ergonomics on this regulatory process for about the last five years. The Coalition has been unwavering in its support for an effort by OSHA based on sound science and unyielding in its opposition to attempts to skirt the serious questions about the relationship between activities both on and off the job and what are now called MSDs.

The NCE is a group of over 250 trade associations, companies, and organizations interested in ergonomics and the application of the principles of ergonomics to workplace safety. We represent all sectors of the economy–from office workers to manufacturing to transportation to healthcare. A partial list of the organizations that support our efforts is available. The Coalition represents the vast majority of the American workplace.

By way of background, I am an attorney with the Washington law firm of Keller and Heckman. I am also a certified industrial hygienist, and have spent more than 25 years dealing with workplace health and safety issues. I have participated in OSHA rulemaking since 1974. The views I offer here are those of the Coalition, leavened by my experience as a health and safety professional and as an attorney in Washington working on these issues.

I think our system of laws is predicated on the idea that due process in formulating those laws contributes to a sense of fairness among the citizenry that the government does not make arbitrary and capricious decisions. Notice to and participation by members of the regulated community is often regarded as the primary element to convince citizens that the process is open. But openness is only one of the concepts embodied in this notion of due process. A second one is the belief that the decision has an objective and substantial basis. For if government does not base its decisions on objective criteria, particularly with regard to technical issues, the decisions will be seen simply as the exercise of raw political power subject to the winds of change that blow incessantly in our nation's capitol.

For the last five years, the subject of an OSHA ergonomics regulation has generated controversy and political drama. In prior years, it has resulted in legislative direction to prohibit OSHA from adopting a proposal, which in the view of many is unwise, untenable, and unsupported by the evidence. However, we continue to believe that a regulatory approach even at this juncture is inappropriate.

Let me explain some of this in more detail. I want to depart from my prepared remarks just for a moment here to talk a little bit about the statistics that have been bandied about regarding injuries and illness in the workplace, particularly about the dollar values that have been assigned to these conditions. In point of fact, the $20 billion figure that you hear about all the time is related to back injuries. The last time I saw a piece of information from the National Council of Commissioners on Insurance, the estimate was about $23 billion a year for workers' compensation costs associated with back injuries. It is the single largest cost and has been for the 25 years that I have been involved in health in safety; that is, back injuries have been the single most important cost and the single most common cause of workplace injury that leads to time away from work. All of the other cases that we are talking about here–carpal tunnel, repetitive motion, all of those things that are often in the public view and in the popular press associated with repetitive motion–have a total cost of less than $500 million a year. I base that figure on a report that was prepared by Tom Lehman from Liberty Mutual and given a couple of years ago.

Why is this important? Well, the most important point about this is that back injuries today are not any better understood than they were in 1974 when I started my career in industrial hygiene. I actually heard last week from an orthopedic researcher in Missouri who was talking about this that we still don't understand the fundamentals of what causes back pain. 100 percent of people in this country will suffer sufficient back pain in the course of their adult lives to interfere with their daily activity. So the question then becomes, Do we begin taking steps to require employers to be responsible for those activities, including those off the job that can lead to these conditions? I think the most difficult question OSHA has to answer in trying to decide what to do about these conditions is how to distinguish between those things that happen because of work and those things that happen to be reported at work.

The other point I want to make about injury and illness statistics–and Mr. Jeffress's chart over there was very instructive–is that we have had a decline in the last several years. The decline in repeated trauma cases is down even more dramatically. It is interesting because for a long time, from about 1980 until the decline began a couple of years ago, the injury and illness rate had fluctuated about between 8.8 and 9.0 for about 15 years. So it has been a long time trying to nudge the rate down from where it had dropped to after the first 10 years of OSHA's existence.

One important question for an ergonomics standard has to do with firms that don't report cases. I don't have the specific figure, but in the BLS survey a majority of firms in any given year report no injuries and illnesses. So my question is, How do we account for those facts, and do they also have to continue with the ergonomics program that is outlined by OSHA?

Let me finish by just suggesting that OSHA does have an important task to do and needs to be doing something. First, OSHA needs to provide information to employers about ergonomic principles and to implement its new OSHA approach and aggressively conduct an outreach and consultation program. Enforcement, I think, probably should be abandoned at this stage. All of the cases that OSHA has brought to date have been lost when OSHA actually had to prove all of the elements of a violation. I understand there is a case underway in Missouri that is very expensive, on the order of 12,000 hours budgeted for the activity in prosecuting that case. That seems to me to be an inappropriate allocation of the agency resources. We would be better served if those dollars were spent in helping educate people.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I will stop, since my time has run out.

[The written statement of Mr. Sarvadi is attached as Appendix D.]


Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. Sarvadi. I liked the part you didn't have in your written speech. I liked the statistics. Thank you kindly.

The next witness is Mr. Elmer.



Mr. Elmer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee. My name is Jim Elmer. I am President and owner of James W. Elmer Construction Company. We are a general contracting construction company in Spokane, Washington. We are also a small business. We employ 25 workers in a variety of construction trades. We specialize in new commercial construction, tenant improvement, and historic renovation projects as well as government contracts. I currently serve as Chairman of the National Associated Builders and Contractors

Labor Committee. It is a privilege to be invited to present my views on the proposed changes in the occupational injury and illness recording and reporting requirements.

The protection of our workers is our company's first priority. We provide safety training to all employees and conduct weekly toolbox safety meetings at all job sites. All workers on the site are required to attend these toolbox talks. Additionally, our project managers are required to be on their job sites weekly to complete a thorough safety inspection in addition to their other duties. Our commitment and investment in safety is reflected in our remarkably low workmen's compensation insurance modifier of .65.

I have recently met with my employees concerning the proposed record-keeping changes. We have several concerns with how the proposed record-keeping changes will impact our business. These changes include expanded access to OSHA records, expanded definition of recordable incidents, required posting of OSHA logs at each job site, and requiring general contractors to track and record all subcontractor injuries.

Mr. Chairman, this is the reality of government intrusion in the workplace. As a small business owner, I am extremely frustrated with the number of mandates that the government imposes on my business. Government intrusion will only get worse under OSHA's planned record-keeping changes. These rules will take OSHA in the opposite direction in which they should be headed. Unfortunately, these changes will create more time at the desk and away from the real efforts to ensure safety and prevent accidents on the job site.

Expanded access to records creates an invasion of privacy issue, which is of great concern. We strongly oppose expanding access to OSHA records to employees, former employees, and employee representatives. While workers are entitled to know what injuries and illnesses have occurred on the work site, they should have no right to the personal medical information of others contained in the incident report as proposed by OSHA. Furthermore, granting former employees' designated representatives access to the OSHA logs is like granting a license to individuals and organizations who seek to exploit and harass merit shop construction companies.

As a small business, we do not employ a full-time safety professional, but this is typical in the majority of small construction companies. Our OSHA logs are kept by an employee who wears many hats: she is our office manager, our payroll administrator, and our collections manager. Making a determination to record an injury or illness already requires a time-consuming analysis of OSHA's complex and tedious record-keeping rules. It can take up to one hour per injury to complete the OSHA paperwork required under current law. In addition to the OSHA reporting, we must also complete complex and time-consuming forms for our workmen's compensation insurance carrier. We are greatly concerned about OSHA's proposed expansion of what would constitute a reportable incident. For example, the simple application of a Band-Aid on a cut or blister could be considered a recordable incident under the new proposal.

In construction, minor injuries that require first aid occur on a daily basis. Small construction firms will be forced to divert several hours a week away from the actual job safety issues in order to fill out paperwork for minor first aid incidents. This will increase the number of reportable incidents by 15 to 20 times. This new paperwork requirement will be extremely disruptive to daily operations on the job site; it will do nothing to prevent serious accidents or fatalities, nor will it improve safety.

We are also concerned with OSHA's proposal for contractors to keep separate injury and illness records at each job site which is in existence for as little as 60 days. This will cause enormous problems for small contractors such as our company. As a tenant improvement contractor, we complete nearly 300 projects a year, and only about 50 of those last for 60 days or longer, with most of the projects being active at any one time. Under the proposed rule, we would be required to create a separate log for each site, again greatly increasing paperwork requirements.

Finally, as a general contractor, I have very strong objections to the provisions that will require us to log all of our subcontractors' injuries and illnesses. Safety records are totally the responsibility of each individual subcontractor. On large-scale projects, it is not uncommon for a general contractor to employ 20 or more subcontractors in various trades at any one time on a single job site. A construction site changes on a daily basis. As these changes occur, the subcontractors working on the site also change. For this reason, the general contractor has little, if any, control over obtaining daily subcontractor records. This is neither an efficient nor a productive use of time. It has the potential for multiple recording of the same incident. Just imagine, if you will, several job sites under construction at the same time, say 10 or 12, with 20 or more subcontractors on each one of those projects. I mean, any one can do the math and figure out how onerous that would be on us.

In conclusion, small and large contractors must continue to make safety their highest priority. Now at a time when the public wants smaller government, OSHA's proposed record-keeping change calls for more government. Safety rules that would emphasize paperwork are an inappropriate use of small employers' scarce safety resources. Government must fully take into account the costs and benefits of the regulations they seek to impose to help ensure that federal and private resources go towards efforts that actually improve safety.

I would like to thank you again for the opportunity to address this subcommittee. I will be happy to answer any questions.

[The written statement of Mr. Elmer is attached as Appendix E.]


Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. Elmer.

Mr. Borwegen, you may begin.



Mr. Borwegen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the subcommittee. My name is Bill Borwegen. I have served as the Health and Safety Director for the Service Employees International Union for the last 15 years. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today and to present our views on OSHA, and I also ask that my written statement be entered into the record.


Mr. Ballenger. Without objection.


Mr. Borwegen. We represent 1.3 million workers employed in a wide range of occupations, both in the public and private sector. We are the nation's largest union of healthcare workers and also represent over 100,000 building service workers. We come to you today extremely concerned that while 58 percent of all injuries and illnesses now occur in the service sector, OSHA has failed to change as the economy has changed, becoming increasingly irrelevant for growing numbers of our nation's workers. OSHA has failed to develop a program to focus their inspections in the industry sectors where the data clearly show most workers are getting hurt and ill. Likewise, due to a variety of factors, many beyond OSHA's control, OSHA has seemed incapable of promulgating the very standards that would address the major hazards facing today's workers.

Let me unequivocally state that SEIU strongly supports the mission of OSHA. We have witnessed largely from the sidelines how OSHA can make a significant difference. For example, we have seen injury and illness rates decline in manufacturing and construction, where OSHA conducts the majority of its inspections, 33 percent and 52 percent, respectively, since 1973. In stark contrast, in the sectors where our members work, OSHA protections have been totally lacking or largely absent. That is why I am here today, and that is what our members want you to know.

In the public sector, over 8 million state and local government employees are not even covered by OSHA close to 30 years after the Act was passed. Federal sector workers, while covered by an executive order, lack meaningful protection as OSHA cannot issue fines for violations. In 1997 alone, over 600 public sector workers were killed on the job. Mr. Chairman, the Bush Administration supported the expansion of OSHA coverage in 1991. Now is the time for Congress to act in this area.

Regarding record-keeping, in many of our workplaces, employers are not required to keep injury and illness logs. One example is window cleaners; they are one of the most dangerous professions known. Building service workers as a whole have the third highest rate of back injuries of any occupation, yet since 1983, OSHA has exempted these employers and many thousands of others from even maintaining injury and illness logs. The first way that you would even begin to start a health and safety program would be to look at where people are getting injured. OSHA must lift this exemption and require all employers to maintain this vital injury and illness information, information that obviously itself is self-limiting. The fewer injuries and illnesses you have, the less record-keeping is required.

Healthcare workers are a large group of workers who have largely been ignored by OSHA. One of every 11 workers in this country now works in the healthcare sector, and we have seen a doubling of injuries and illnesses in the past decade among this workforce. In fact, Mr. Chairman, if you can believe it–this is based on BLS statistics–it is actually safer today to work in a factory, in a coal mine, or on a construction site than in a hospital. Rates for nursing home workers are even far worse, reaching as high as 18.2 per 100 workers per year. Yet, the actual number of injuries and illnesses among healthcare workers maybe, in fact, double this figure as it is estimated that less than 10 percent of the 600,000 to 1,000,000 needle-stick injuries that occur each year get reported in these statistics.

Let me talk to you briefly about some of the hazards that healthcare workers face that have not been adequately addressed by OSHA.

Needlesticks. The most prevalent is the issue of needle-stick injuries, where it is estimated that over 1,000 healthcare workers each year develop HIV or hepatitis, mostly hepatitis C, from these injuries. Yet, the FDA has approved over 250 safer products.

The CDC tells us that safer needles can reduce needle-stick injuries by up to 76 percent, and OSHA has collected data from hundreds of hospitals describing how safer needles work. I just brought one here to show to the committee. This is what is called a retractable syringe.

Here is the syringe. You just push the plunger down, and the metal part goes right back into the plastic part of the needle. The additional cost of this is the price of a postage stamp.

As a result of employers not paying this extra cost, a plane lad of healthcare workers dies every year from needle-stick injuries. In 1991, we did get a law passed- that the Senate voted 99 to 1- to force OSHA to release the Bloodborne Pathogen standard in December of 1991 that required not only the free provision of the Hepatitis B vaccine that saved thousands of healthcare worker lives, but also that employers use engineering controls, such as the device that I just showed you. OSHA, however, is not enforcing this provision of the standard, and, as a result, less than 10 percent of the needles used in this country is of the safer design.

Patient Lifting Injuries. Another area where healthcare workers suffer greatly are back injuries. Nurses aides have the highest rate of back injuries of any occupation. The nursing home industry spends over $1 billion on back injuries; much of that is taxpayer money. It has been proven unequivocally that good ergonomics programs in nursing homes can dramatically reduce workers' comp premiums, but without an OSHA standard on ergonomics, we are afraid that only a small minority of nursing homes will adequately integrate ergonomic programs into protecting their workforce.

Assaults on Workers. Again, healthcare workers are number one. Thirty-eight percent of all non-fatal assaults that occur in this country are in the healthcare sector. OSHA put out guidelines, but they have not instructed their compliance officers on how to use these guidelines to educate and enforce this issue when workers are assaulted. Again, this is a major problem in the healthcare sector.

Chemical Hazards. There are a large variety of chemical hazards.

Tuberculosis. OSHA has been working on a tuberculosis (TB) rule for almost six years. I think this is the best example of how OSHA can't seem to issue a rule for anything because of the current political environment. This is a relatively non-controversial standard. It’s been almost six years, and we still don't have a TB standard.

Latex. Latex is also a major issue for our members, and the list goes on. I know you are having a hearing on Thursday about latex allergies. It is a big issue for our members.

Safety and Health Program Rule. The Safety and Health Program Rule is really perhaps the most important rule for our membership, especially because our members largely are not covered by other OSHA standards. While most traditionally recognized hazardous industries have safety and health programs in place, such a requirement for workers in industries that have largely been ignored by OSHA will benefit the most. That is why OSHA really needs to move forward with this Safety and Health Program Rule.

In closing, with the little time I have, Mr. Chairman, I want to mention Peggy Ferro, a member of our union, a nurse's aide who suffered an on-the-job injury in 1990. Safer needle devices existed in the marketplace back then, but they were not available to Peggy. She contracted HIV as a result of her injury. In 1992, under the alias Jean Roe, she testified here at a congressional hearing behind a special screen to protect her identity. She urged Congress to direct OSHA and the other responsible federal agencies to protect healthcare workers from needlesticks. Many promises were made by these federal agencies, but few were kept. Healthcare workers are still being denied this life-saving technology. Peggy died from her workplace-acquired disease this past November 4 at the age of 49. She did not die because OSHA was too aggressive, too responsive to her workplace health and safety needs or the needs of other workers in the service and healthcare sectors. In fact, Peggy never met anyone from OSHA except for the representatives who testified at the 1992 congressional hearing.

In 1995, with much fanfare, OSHA released the report entitled The New OSHA Reinventing Worker Health and Safety. The report stated that "in 1993, six of the ten industries with the largest number of workplace injuries were in the service sector." The report went on to promise that OSHA would develop the design for a coordinated service sector program by December of that year. May will mark four years since this report was issued, and no such report has been developed to our knowledge.

It is past time for OSHA to develop a comprehensive program to address the health and safety needs of workers in the fastest growing sectors of the economy where most injuries and illnesses occur. On behalf of Peggy Ferro, I implore you to direct OSHA to do much more to be responsive to the needs of workers and employers in these largely ignored industry sectors and to fulfill this unfulfilled mission as envisioned under the OSH Act of 1970.

Thank you.

[The written statement of Mr. Borwegen is attached as Appendix F.]


Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. Borwegen.

I want to remind Members that Committee that Rule 2 imposes a five-minute limit on questions. The Chair now recognizes Members for any questions they may have.

I’d like to start if I may.

First, Charles, you had a statistic there that has been thrown at us year after year. Let’s just kind of clear the air. You said that as of June 1998, the agency had eliminated over 1,000 pages of outdated and redundant regulations. In fact, our understanding is that, rather than continue to publish separate rules for construction, where those rules were the same as the general rules, OSHA just cross-referenced them so that few if any regulations actually were eliminated or changed. I am not blaming you, but we hear it so often.

Second, you mentioned that you support negotiated rulemaking. I also think negotiated rulemaking is a great idea. Unfortunately, the one instance where OSHA has been using it, the steel erection standard, the industry and the unions have had to continuously push OSHA to move it forward. This experience with OSHA doesn't suggest that the agency is really receptive to negotiated rulemaking. My question has to do with the legislation that was signed into public law last year with your help. As you will recall, there were three bills that amended the OSH Act, and I wondered what has happened since then. One of the laws was to give grants to states for conducting on-site consultations for small business. Has anything been done to increase the awareness of these programs? I have already told you my concerns about the Administration's budget proposals, and it doesn't seem to me like it is showing much support. The second law was to prohibit penalty quotas and the like. That was supposed to have ended the OSHA policy that was already in effect, but we continue to receive complaints from inspectors in various offices saying that contrary to the law, they are being graded on the basis of penalties. I don't know what you have done about implementing that law. Finally, the third law was regarding the coverage of the Post Office. What is the status of enforcement responsibility there? I didn't mean to throw all those questions at you at once, but go ahead.


Mr. Jeffress. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In terms of the consultation program, I am very proud of that program. As you know, we used it extensively in North Carolina, and I believe it is a program that ought to continue to grow. Over the past three years, it has been a program that has been significantly supported by Congress and has had significant increases. This year, we provided the states with an opportunity to bid on these funds. The states, as you know, have to match a portion of those funds. States reported to us that it would take them a year to get the funds from their general assembly to match this, so some of that money will be used next year, if you will, as the states catch up to match these funds. Therefore, in looking at where we could best expand compliance assistance this year, the President reported that with the lack of any full-time OSHA personnel dedicated to compliance assistance, the best place to put the money for compliance assistance for next year was in the states that do not have state OSHA plans. While we do have state consultation programs in these states, many people continue to call on federal OSHA for assistance, and the President would like to have a full-time person dedicated to compliance assistance in each of those states. It is not a reflection of any discontent or unhappiness with the state programs, nor any intention to de-emphasize them. It is to let them adjust to the tremendous growth they have had over the past two years.

In terms of promoting that, we do continue to promote it. One of our premier offers to small business is we will assist them with free on-site consultation, no penalties, to identify hazards and to put programs in place that work. Last year, the states collectively did about 24,000 of these consultations. With the additional money this year, I expect they will do more. I am delighted with that number of consultations. I would expect to see that program continue to grow in the future.

Secondly, in terms of inspectors and whether they are graded or in any way evaluated based on penalties or numbers of inspections, that is absolutely not allowed. That is not provided for in any of our performance appraisal documents. If you have reports from particular area offices, I would like to see them. Understand that my area offices are expected to contribute towards our overall goal. When Congress appropriates the money for enforcement, you ask us what we are going to do with it. You ask us, and in fact it is printed in your budget, how many inspections we are going to make with that. So you have an expected productivity level from us as an agency, and my area offices know, given what the expectation is of Congress, that we produce a certain amount of inspections, what is reasonable to expect each of them to do based on their industry mix and the number of staff they have. That does not equate to the numbers of inspections for individual compliance officers, but it is a production level expected from area offices. That may vary as people get into partnerships and get into special programs and get into other things that mean they do fewer inspections. We allow for that. But while we do have general production levels expected in OSHA, they are not broken down to the compliance officer level.

Finally, the experience with the Post Office, I am happy to say that in working with the Postmaster General, I have been able to alleviate some concerns about transition issues, about some record-keeping issues, and about how OSHA is going to approach the Post Office. We have had more complaints this year from the Post Office than we had in past years. For the first time, we are investigating discrimination complaints from the Post Office that we used to just refer back to the Post Office. We now have to look at those. When you add the discrimination

and the extra complaints together, I guess we probably have had a 25 percent increase in numbers of visits to the Post Office this year.


Mr. Ballenger. Thank you.

Mr. Sarvadi, let’s talk about your statistics on back injury. I used to work in a folding box plant. I would unload 50-pound bundles of cardboard, throwing them off the back of the truck, 600 bundles to a truckload. I was only 23 or 24 years old and never had a back problem in my life. Then I stopped doing this physical type of work and started getting into a brain situation. Slowly but surely I started getting back problems, muscle aches and spasms. I would go to the doctor, who would tell me that as we get older and exercise less , our muscles deteriorate, so we are going to have back problems. He told me to start exercising every morning, so I started doing that, but I wasn't very good at it. Actually my wife will tell me, You are going to have a muscle spasm if you don't loosen up and quit being so tense about this kind of stuff. I wonder how OSHA can regulate this situation on age and deterioration of bodies and also mental incapacity.


Mr. Sarvadi. What a great question. I don't know where to begin. Let me just suggest that on the back question you have hit exactly on the one area where I think there is general agreement. I am going to defer to Dr. Stan Bigos, who is a well-respected and well-known researcher in the field. Dr. Bigos was on the low back pain committee that the Department of Health and Human Services had a couple of years ago. That committee, which was made up of about 50 or 75 physicians and specialists, that’s my guess now because my memory is going, too, my back is going and my memory is going just like yours. Basically what Stan told me about my back problem was exactly what you are hearing. It is a question of physical conditioning. The more physically conditioned people are to the kind of work that they are doing, the less likely they are to suffer these kinds of soft tissue injuries. So, if OSHA really wants to get at back injuries, the question becomes, Can we write a rule that requires people to get up and do 25 sit-ups a day, go to the gym and use the back extension machine, and so on? I think we would quickly find that is probably not going to be a very effective approach.

The problem with back injuries is that we still don't understand enough about what causes the pain and how to alleviate that pain in such a way that is related to activity. Physicians and a number of different medical practitioners can certainly treat people. If the statistics are accurate, out of all of the people who suffer back pain in a given year, 90 to 95 percent find relief within three to six months. The rest of us are unfortunate enough to have that persist for some length of time. So it is a passing kind of thing. One of the things the low back pain committee described was that in most cases the only thing that you need to do is to have people change their habits. That is, if they needed to have bed rest, they got bed rest or if they needed to have treatment, they got treatment. But it was simply the change in structure or activity that led to their recovery. One of the things that we ought to be talking about, both in relation to record-keeping and in relation to ergonomics, is if an employer decides to respond to an employee's complaint about a pain or a strain or a back problem, that the employee be moved to another job temporarily or that the employee be allowed to continue to do the existing job, but with limited activity in that job. As it stands today, that constitutes a recordable case that will trigger, under the proposed rule, moving you into the full ergonomics program. It seems to me that is probably a short-sighted view because in reality most of the folks who find relief from that situation are going to get well relatively quickly. They are going to be out of the system. All of the things that we normally associate with an ergonomics program in terms of analysis and review are probably going to be unproductive in the worst possible sense.

Mr. Ballenger. Thank you.

Major Owens?


Mr. Owens. Mr. Chairman, I yield the first questioning session to Ms. Woolsey.


Ms. Woolsey. Thank you very much, Mr. Owens, and thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this hearing.

You know, where there is a will, there is a way. And when I hear testimony that is very clear to me that by throwing up roadblocks, we are not going to get where we want to go, I get very frustrated and that gives me a headache, Mr. Chairman. I was a human resources professional, not an attorney but a professional in an electronics company that grew from six employees, I was number six, to over 700. You have to know we were busy, but never did it enter my mind under my responsibilities that it was too much work to keep the logs, to pay attention to the safety and health committee, to ensure that the employees were involved in our reviews and what was going on in our company. It was clear to me that by tracking minor injuries and first aid incidents, we prevented major incidents. For example, back when I was in the electronics industry, the employees clipped the tails off integrated circuits out of the circuit boards, and they would fly. Of course, they would get in a person's eyes. By doing the first aid of washing out the eye to prevent infection, it became really clear to us in tracking those incidents that we could have a serious problem. So those individuals who did the clipping started wearing safety goggles. Point taken, nobody lost an eye. It could have happened. It has happened in that industry. You learn from the minor problems to prevent the major problems.

I have a question for Secretary Jeffress. Talk to me about H.R. 87 prohibiting OSHA from proposing any future ergonomic rules until the National Academy of Sciences completes a new study. Tell us, for the record if you will, how many studies have already been validated for ergonomic protections. In your opinion, why do we have to go further? When is science not science?


Mr. Jeffress. Thank you, Ms. Woolsey. In this century, since 1920, there have been over 2,000 studies about ergonomics in the workplace. They have gone under different names, biomechanical stresses and different approaches, but they are studies about fitting the job to the worker rather than fitting the worker to the job. In analyzing those studies, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health took 600 of the most recent ones to look at what do these studies prove, what did they say, what did they show. They produced a thick document. The summary conclusion of it is the studies showed consistently that ergonomic injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, were related to problems at work and that there were solutions or interventions that businesses were making to reduce those problems and reduce those injuries. Scientific conclusion from scientific studies, if you will, that ergonomics is an area appropriate for OSHA rulemaking. The National Academy of Sciences, at the request of Congress, and Congress was urged to do so by some critics of OSHA. The National Academy of Sciences conducted another workshop last year to once again review the literature, if you will, and employed 66 experts from around the country that they picked. OSHA didn't have anything to do with picking these. They were business folks and physicians to talk again about let's look at the studies and from your own experience is this an area where there are injuries at work that can be prevented by interventions and they concluded, yes, there were. Physicians have weighed in,

scientists have weighed in, and employers have weighed in. This is appropriate for OSHA having rules in this area.

The additional studies that are coming in two years from the National Academy of Sciences, I hope there will be many, many more. Just as we are still learning about how to prevent electrocutions or how to prevent falls, in future years we will learn more about how to prevent ergonomic injuries. So I welcome this study, and I welcome what other future studies may come, but we know enough to act now.


Ms. Woolsey. Thank you. I'd like a little bit of information about backs. Mr. Sarvadi, you quoted the attorney who represents UPS?


Mr. Sarvadi. No.


Ms. Woolsey. No? What was it? Oh, a doctor. That is right. A doctor. Who was that? Well, never mind.


Mr. Owens. Dr. Stanley Bigos is a prominent critic of OSHA’s ergonomics standard for a long time. Dr. Bigos has been a paid consultant for UPS, and he also gets support from the company through a foundation. UPS also made plans to endow a chair for Dr. Bigos for $2.5 million, though this offer has now been put on hold.


Ms. Woolsey. Okay. That was my point. Thank you, Mr. Owens, for making my point for me. I want to talk about pre-employment physicals. You don't have to put somebody in a job that would exacerbate a previous back injury or if that person has a weakness in the first place, right?


Mr. Sarvadi. That is correct.


Ms. Woolsey. Do your employers use pre-employment physicals?


Mr. Sarvadi. I am sure many of the employers use pre-employment medical examinations. As you may know, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, there are some limitations on the kinds of pre-employment physical examinations that can be done. We are doing fewer of them now than we did before the ADA was adopted. The point about the back injuries. Dr. Bigos did a study of the Boeing facility, 60,000 employees. I acknowledge that he has received support from UPS, but he is clearly the leading researcher on back injury and its occurrence in the workplace in the United States. I suspect that if you ask Dr. Bigos and anybody who is a practicing physician in this field right now how to screen people for a propensity to back injury, you would not find an answer that would satisfy you. It is not possible at the present time to say given this set of physical characteristics, this person may suffer a back injury if they do this kind of job. And part of the reason for that is we don't know what kinds of things people do on the job that lead to the back injuries. We see back injuries in lots of different industries. We see them in transportation, in office jobs, in manufacturing and material handling. Certainly

they are higher in some industries than in others, but it is by no means a universally accepted idea that back injuries are only caused in certain kinds of industries. They occur and are reported in nearly all.


Ms. Woolsey. Mr. Chairman, may I ask for unanimous consent so that the Secretary could submit testimony from other back injury specialists into the record?


Mr. Ballenger. Without objection.


Mr. Jeffress. I would be glad to do so.

[The materials were not submitted for the official hearing print. Should anything be submitted for the record, it will be kept in the Committee’s official archive hearing file.]


Ms. Woolsey. Thank you.


Mr. Borwegen. Congresswoman Woolsey, if I could just mention, we have dealt very well with back injury prevention in nursing homes. OSHA has done studies with nursing homes that show there is one nursing home in Maine where their lost workday rate has gone from close to 600 lost workdays a year to 12, and all they did was spend $60,000 on lifting devices and they dealt with the staffing issue. They didn't have adequate staffing. So, I don't know. I mean I would like to ask the doctor here whether he thinks lifting patients causes back injuries. I don't know what else to ask. We have had dramatic success stories here. This nursing home saved close to $1,000,000 a year in workers' comp costs as a result of this program that only cost them $60,000 in equipment. This is not rocket science. This is going on out there. If there are so many questions, then we need to get the alert out to corporate America to stop spending the billions of dollars they are already spending to prevent these injuries.


Mr. Ballenger. If I may, Mr. Sarvadi, if you would like to add some information or studies in competition, those will also be allowed into the hearing record.


Mr. Sarvadi. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be happy to do so.

[A letter of June 15, 1999, from David Sarvadi to Chairman Ballenger is included in Appendix D. The attachments to that letter are being kept in the Committee’s official archive hearing file.]

I want to correct the record. I am not Dr. Sarvadi. I am Mr. Sarvadi. I am not a practicing physician.


Mr. Ballenger. Okay. First of all, for those of you who don't know, Mr. Isakson is the newest Member of Congress. He took Speaker Gingrich's place, and he is most welcome to the committee. And it is your time.


Mr. Isakson. Mr. Chairman, you have made my day because the majority of mail that I have received in advance of being elected to Congress and since being elected to Congress has been about the proposed ergonomics regulation by OSHA.

Mr. Borwegen, your comment was very interesting to me. This is going to be a question, but I want to try to set the stage. Your comment was very interesting to me with regard to the nursing home for this reason. You made a statement that you were able to specifically address a cause for back injury in the workplace and greatly reduce loss in the workplace. Now I say that as a preface to the question I want to ask Mr. Jeffress.

Mr. Jeffress, I believe you said that there had been 2000 studies in referring to

Ms. Woolsey's original question with regard to studies. I don't know whether you used the word overwhelming or not, but the conclusion was that certainly there was need for regulation in terms of ergonomics or something like that. Let me tell you what my concern and I think the concern of so many business people is with regard to OSHA and with regard to regulation and specifically tying in to our statement, sir. My experience and others is that when OSHA enters into regulation of an area where there certainly are varying opinions as to cause and effect, it will over-regulate to the extreme and then, as it gains experience in regulation, it will back off on its requirements. Because of that, it ends up imposing a huge expense that the very regulation itself later demonstrates was not necessary, but the expense nonetheless ends up being paid by the business. Now here is my question. You talk about, I believe the word was collaboration or new partnerships or something like that. Why not try and seek that type of approach, just as was done on the specifics of this one industry where there are known problems than promulgate? I will be the first to admit I have not read all of it, although I have got the Website now, massive regulation that eventually, if past experience is indicative, will be ratcheted down as the actual experience of regulation finds that wasn't necessary to be done? Is that understandable?


Mr. Jeffress. Yes, sir. Let me give you a brief background on where we are on ergonomics. As Mr. Owens said, and Ms. Woolsey said as well, OSHA has been working on this for about 20 years. Twenty years ago this month, we hired our first ergonomist in OSHA. So this is not a new activity for us. In 1990, we promulgated the first set of guidelines on ergonomics, focusing on the red meat industry, where our greatest experience had been up to that time, pointing out what programs had proven effective within that industry and what was working in that industry. Then for the last 10 years, we have been expanding that to other industries, reaching out to other industries and trying to learn from what worked in red meat and apply that other places. Today, the experience in hundreds of industries, the automobile industry, poultry processing, and folks that do keyboarding, lots and lots of industries across the board with ergonomics and programs that work in ergonomics. In approaching this area for regulation, we didn't approach it from the point of view of whether it is okay to lift 43 pounds, but not 44. That level of specificity would be inappropriate given the different tasks, the different ways of lifting, and the different types of operations that different firms have. One thing we have learned from talking to employers about ergonomics is that the best way to run a program is to analyze your problems and figure out what will work in your workplace. Sometimes if things don't work, then you try something else. So our program standard, which is very much a proposal at this point and very much in draft form, and we welcome additional comments and suggestions on it, our standard is phrased as a program. Put a program in place to find your problems and to fix your problems. Our goal, as specified in the draft proposal, is not an absence of injuries. That is, of course, the ultimate goal, to eliminate injuries. But the lack of injuries is not the determination as to whether you are in compliance. The determination as to whether you are in compliance is, if you are having injuries whether you have a program in place to identify the causes of those and to address them through means that are feasible for your company. That is the program. If the program has been put in place in good faith, then that is the basis for whether people are in compliance or not.

Let me just mention in terms of the over-regulation, I understand the view that people have expressed to you about OSHA over-regulating. Two of the recent studies of exactly how is OSHA doing with our regulations and what is the impact of the regulations have concluded that the government usually overestimates the cost of the regulations. The General Accounting Office and an independent consulting firm both looked at the regulations that OSHA was imposing, looked at the experience with business after the regulations were in place, and compared that experience with what the predictions were earlier on before the regulation was passed. In both cases, those studies concluded that OSHA, because it took a conservative economic approach, actually overestimated the cost. In fact, the cost to business of complying with OSHA regulations was much less than what had been proposed.


Mr. Isakson. Mr. Chairman, you will have to cut me off. I wasn't watching the clock on my time. But I have another question or two. Is that okay? In one of the reports I have before me, and this was not necessarily stated in the hearing, as I understand it, the budget incorporated $840,000 for the National Academy of Science study, and that study was implemented but has not come back yet, is that right?


Mr. Jeffress. That is correct.


Mr. Isakson. Was that study directed specifically or in general with regard to ergonomics? And by specifically or in general, I mean were there any areas that may be in question, or is it just another broad study to be 2001?


Mr. Jeffress. The direction by Congress for that study had seven relatively broad questions about the relationship of working conditions to injuries, the relationships of interventions to those working conditions. They were the same seven questions actually that were addressed in the workshop last year by the National Academy of Sciences. It will further our knowledge about what interventions work. It will further our knowledge about ergonomics. I don't expect it to be any more definitive than the previous studies have been.


Mr. Isakson. And when is it due back?


Mr. Jeffress. In about two years.


Mr. Isakson. As in 2001?


Mr. Jeffress. The contract was just let, and it is a 24-month contract.


Mr. Isakson. Okay. One last question, Mr. Chairman. In my business, the business I know the most, which is sales, but most of our employees now deal obviously with computers and keyboards. The question, of course, and it is referred to also in a couple places, is carpal tunnel syndrome and whether or not there is a tie, and this, and that, and the other. I will go to your website and read your proposed rules, but I want to ask this question. From what I heard you say, what you would be seeking then would be for businesses like a service business, where they use a lot of keyboards and a lot of computers, to identify whether or not it has had experiences with problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, and if it has, to implement programs in terms of keyboarding to try and remediate or lower those, is that correct?


Mr. Jeffress. Correct. Except that the standard can't look backwards. From the day it is passed it will say if you have an injury report in the future, then you have an obligation. So you don't have to go back and look at what may have happened in the past.


Mr. Isakson. Okay. My follow-up to that is then OSHA's intervention in a regulated business of that type that primarily were using the keyboards. Would it be upon a complaint by an employee, or would it be upon a reported problem, or would it be upon a random inspection, or could it be any one of the three?


Mr. Jeffress. The standard would trigger employer action if the employer recorded a work-related injury. So if employees report an injury, the employer would have to make an assessment that this is work-related and record that injury. They would further, in addition to recording the injury, have to make a determination that this injury was caused by a job factor in the workplace that is a part of the employee's regular job and was likely to result in these type of musculoskeletal disorders. So under the current proposal it is the employer recording of the injury that would trigger the employer's compliance with the standard.


Mr. Isakson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Mr. Ballenger. Major Owens.


Mr. Owens. Mr. Jeffress, in order to set things in perspective, I have been hearing at this panel, as I have in the past, about overwhelming burdens that OSHA has placed on businesses. How many standards have been promulgated? Am I correct that 25 standards have been promulgated in the history of OSHA?


Mr. Jeffress. In the health area, Mr. Owens, since the initial adoption of the ANSI standards, about 25 health standards have been adopted.


Mr. Owens. 25. And this would be number 26?


Mr. Jeffress. Something like that.


Mr. Owens. The working draft of a proposed ergonomics program standard is about 25 pages here?


Mr. Jeffress. Yes, sir.


Mr. Owens. It is not a humongous encyclopedia that will be dumped on the backs of businesses?


Mr. Jeffress. That is correct.


Mr. Owens. Mr. Sarvadi sought to ridicule back injuries, and several other people commented on back injuries. While we are on the subject of back injuries, it seems to me, am I not correct, that we have the capacity to pursue this whole question and not have to deal with anecdotal evidence. Large amounts of records are kept- medical records and workmen's comp records- that we could study without having to go into a Y2K computer kind of situation. We have computers, and we could really study these things and break out some of these answers. You could break down the back injuries into instructive categories, and you could find out the injuries of people who were in the workforce versus those who were not in the workforce who began to have back problems because of old age. You could get the incidence of workers in certain industries. It is possible to do that in a percentage. You can get young workers who have back pain versus those who have back pain due to senility or young workers who were in stressful labor jobs who might have strained their backs early and what happened to them later. The Chairman gave you an example of the hard work he used to do in terms of lifting stuff off trucks. I had a lot of hard jobs, manual labor jobs, but I don't think I ever had one like that. The hardest job I ever had was chopping cotton on a hot summer day. It is awful work, but you stand up straight. So I don't have any back problems now in my old age. There might be a relationship between what you did when you were young versus what happens to you later in life. The whole question of age and how age is a factor all by itself. Of course, the hospital workers and the question there in terms of the kind of work they do and to what degree can it be automated and to what degree, as we have a growing population there, are we going to face more problems there, and that should be certainly looked at, the back pain problem just to head off increased costs of Medicare and Medicaid, et cetera. I would like to see you pursue that thoroughly with the exploration of as many facets as possible and as many different experts as possible, Dr. Bigos included in that.


Mr. Jeffress. Thank you, Mr. Owens. I assure you we will be pursuing that and have pursued that quite a bit. While OSHA has a lot of awesome power, I don't think we can reverse the aging process. I doubt we can do much to keep backs from hurting as a result of aging. What we can do, regardless of a worker's age, and regardless of what preexisting conditions a worker may bring to the work, is to work with employers to invest in prevention programs so whatever the age or whatever the condition, there is less likely a chance of someone hurting his or her back. We know enough about the ways people lift to put in lift assistance to keep people from hurting their backs. Mr. Borwegen's example with the nursing home is a good example. Other examples of assisted lifting are in warehouses to keep people from lifting things up above their shoulders to hurt their backs and ways of bringing things off the floor so you don't have to reach down to the floor and lift up. There are prevention programs that have been proven to work. Insurance companies will say they work. We want to take these best practices that the best employers are doing and have the rest of the employers do these practices as well because if we invest in prevention, I think we can reduce the injuries. That will be good for the workers, and it will be good for the employers in terms of what they are spending today on these back problems.


Mr. Owens. Did you comment on insurance carriers and how they feel about what OSHA does? Do states or insurance carriers give employers credit for implementing safety and health programs?


Mr. Jeffress. Yes, sir. There are a number of insurance companies that on their workers' compensation premiums will give employers credit where they have implemented effective safety and health programs. I was at a conference in Houston two weeks ago where the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company was putting on a presentation about one of their clients. After they put in an ergonomics program in their workplace, the company reduced their musculoskeletal disorders by 74 percent and saved over $2.5 million in workers’ compensation claims over the course of a 5-year period. That was the insurance company saying there is proof. It worked for our client, and we would recommend it to others. The same is true for Aetna and for Travelers. I can bring you story after story where insurance companies have evidence that safety and health programs work. Where people invest in their employees and put preventive efforts in place, where people have employees reporting conditions and take actions on those reports before someone gets hurt, they save enormously in terms of their costs, and they keep employees safe and healthy at the same time. They really are win/win situations.


Mr. Owens. We have an enormous amount of empirical data and statistics in this area. The $15 billion to $20 billion figure I have mentioned in terms of workmen's compensation payments, do you agree with that figure basically?


Mr. Jeffress. Absolutely. That is verified by the compensation reports that insurance carriers file and pay for employers. There are a number of studies that report on these incidents. When you count in the indirect costs, the training of new employees to take the place, the down time because of the injury that occurs, the time of the supervisor to deal with that employee and other employees on the site, it triples or quadruples the cost if you include the indirect cost. So I believe the true measure of the ergonomic injuries in our economy is more like $60 billion, not just the $15 billion to $20 billion that are the direct costs of comp claims and medical payments.


Mr. Owens. So the important thing is to reach the point where all of us respect the body of statistics and empirical data that has been accumulated. Obviously there is no universal respect for that at this point.


Mr. Jeffress. There are still folks who question the science. All I can say to you is that thousands of America employers would not be investing millions of dollars in these programs if it didn't work for them. American business doesn't spend money on things that don't work. They are investing money because it works and it pays off for them.


Mr. Owens. Mr. Elmer, you come from Washington State, which has had a safety and health program requirement for many years. What kind of experience have you had with that program?


Mr. Elmer. Our experience with WSHA in the State of Washington has been outstanding. One of the things that the state WSHA program does is when we start a new or larger project, we seek their consultation. They will come out to the job site and work with us as we are beginning the job, and that has helped hold down our workmen's compensation rates significantly because of the working relationship we do have with WSHA.


Mr. Owens. So you would endorse much of what Mr. Jeffress says?


Mr. Elmer. Well, that is a pretty broad statement.


Mr. Owens. Never mind.

Mr. Borwegen, your testimony is probably one of the most serious problems we have to consider. I think you said that your sector of workers is growing rapidly and that you have been left behind and left out in many areas, certainly since government employees are not covered. That is what you said, right?


Mr. Borwegen. That is correct.


Mr. Owens. What is the trend in terms of service workers and the numbers that we can expect in the next ten years in the number of people who would be uncovered or left out of OSHA regulation?


Mr. Borwegen. Congressman, the problem is that OSHA hasn't really been able to change with the economy. OSHA has a really minuscule budget when you compare it to the size of the problem. They have been able to lower injury and illness rates, as I said, in construction and manufacturing, but they have yet to move into the sectors of the economy that are growing in the service sector or in the information sector. Hopefully they won't have to do much in the information sector. But clearly in the service sector, we are experiencing quite an epidemic of injuries and illnesses. As I mentioned, the injury and illness rate has doubled in healthcare. If you want a safer job today, you need to become a coal miner, not a nurse. That is the truth according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The healthcare sector is really spiraling out of control in combination with all the restructuring that is going on. Not only does this pose a hazard to the workers themselves, but we have also seen a diminution of healthcare to patients as well. So this is a sector that deserves OSHA's attention. Nothing against research on Antarctica, but our budget for OSHA is the same amount of money we spend on research in Antarctica. And until that changes, we are going to continue to have a resource limitation problem. Nonetheless, OSHA could do more. But the problem is, all of the regulations that are so critical to our members somehow have become political footballs. Ergonomics, indoor air quality, tuberculosis, relatively non-controversial- they should all be out there. Health and safety program rules is probably the most important for our members because most of our workplaces do not have health and safety programs. They don't have anybody in charge.


Mr. Owens. You have been very critical of OSHA, but your criticism is that they should do more. Is that basically what you are saying? They should do more?


Mr. Borwegen. Yes, sir.


Mr. Owens. And in your area, the service sector, would the cost be great? We are not talking about a Black Lung disease program. I mean to move into greater regulation and more prevention there and greater OSHA participation, would the costs be that great?


Mr. Borwegen. Congressman, our frustration is so great on this issue of needlestick injuries that we have mounted a 20-state campaign to pass needle laws across this country to require that healthcare providers provide safer needles.

In California, we passed the law. Governor Pete Wilson signed that law last fall. The State of California concluded that, by using the needle that I just showed you today, they will save $100 million a year and employers will save $100 million a year.

OSHA has become so paralyzed because of political attacks that they have been unable to address the issues of our concern, so we have given up. We may end up perhaps with a wide variety of confusing state laws, and that may create havoc, but we have no choice. A plane load of healthcare workers dies each year. We have given up on working at the federal level on the issue of needle safety. We have decided to go to the state approach. That is how frustrated we

are. And I must say, we have gotten incredible bipartisan support. A number of the lead sponsors of this needlestick legislation are Republicans, and we are very proud of that.


Mr. Owens. Thank you. I just want to conclude, Mr. Chairman, by asking unanimous consent to enter into the record questions for OSHA Assistant Secretary Charles Jeffress on inspections of worksites and employee housing in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These are questions submitted by our committee member Representative George Miller.


Mr. Ballenger. Without objection.

[The information was not submitted for the official hearing print. Should anything be submitted for the record, it will be kept in the Committee’s official archive hearing file.]


Mr. Owens. Thank you.

I also want to note for the record that Mr. Kucinich was here and that he would like to submit questions for the record also.


Mr. Ballenger. Without objection.

[The questions were not submitted for the official hearing print. Should anything be submitted for the record, it will be kept in the Committee’s official archive hearing file.]


Mr. Owens. Thank you.


Mr. Ballenger. Mr. McMichael, you have been kind of ignored here.

Mr. Elmer said that WSHA in Washington State comes and works with him as to what should happen, and so forth and so on. In your statement, I think you said you had had no accident at all in 11 years and that you were chosen by the Administration to come and make an announcement about what you had done, your safety record, and so forth. I would just like to ask whether OSHA has ever approached you about copying it, since you have such a great and wonderful program here? Is there anything along those lines where they have used your expertise to further their own ability to help health and safety?


Mr. McMichael. OSHA has never visited Custom Printing. But 83 people from the EPA have come through our building for plant tours to get a better understanding of our business and to make it clear that what we try to do there is to improve the air quality, which is an issue for print.


Mr. Ballenger. Are you offset printing?


Mr. Borwegen. Yes.


Mr. Ballenger. I am Flexo. Excuse me, I think Mr. Jeffress has something to say.


Mr. Jeffress. Just two notes for the record. First, Custom Print is in Virginia, which is State OSHA plan state. Federal OSHA has no jurisdiction there. I will speak to my friends in Virginia. I am sure they will be happy to visit. On another matter, while we have not visited Custom Printing to look at their safety and health program, the Printing Industry of America Association has a safety and health program called Printguard, and we have worked very closely with them on developing. As a matter of fact, they were the recipients of one of our $101,000 training grants last year to develop this program and extend it and promote it around the country. So we are working very closely with Printguard and with the printing industry in this area.


Mr. Ballenger. I would like to ask Mr. Elmer a question. You mentioned possibly having 20 jobs going at the same time.


Mr. Elmer. Yes, sir.


Mr. Ballenger. And you have to keep paperwork records on every cut and bruise at each one of those places?


Mr. Elmer. Well, we don't have to yet.


Mr. Ballenger. Maybe we can persuade the Secretary.


Mr. Elmer. I was just trying to put a number to where these regulation changes could take us. As I said, we do a lot of tenant improvement work. That means if a lawyer or a doctor needs a new office, we remodel their suites. We may take anywhere from 30 to 120 days to complete a project. And on those types of projects, we employ electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers, drywallers, painters, you name it. Every one of those is a subcontract trade, so if we have 10 or 12 of those, and I don't always use the same subcontractor on every project, and if I have 20 different subcontractors potentially on 10 or 12 different jobs that last for longer than 60 days, we are talking about having to keep track of 240 to 360 different subcontractors' records. That is what I was trying to quantify.


Mr. Ballenger. I am glad you raised your hand, but I would think that you would take that into consideration when you put this thing together. Go ahead.


Mr. Jeffress. Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman. That is the point I was going to make. Mr. Elmer is responding to a proposed record-keeping rule that was out for hearing and comment a couple of years ago. We heard extensive comments, many of them similar to what Mr. Elmer said. We are about to finalize that rule, and I would like to reassure you and Mr. Elmer that we have heard these kinds of comments and that you will be pleased to see some of the changes that are in the final rule from what was in the proposed rule.


Mr. Ballenger. Mr. Elmer, that proves one thing. If you show up for a hearing and he is on the committee, you will get something done. Mr. Isakson, do you have any other questions?


Mr. Isakson. No. Thank you.


Mr. Ballenger. Well, in closing, let me just thank all of you for coming. We realize that your time is rather limited and very valuable. We truly appreciate your coming in to testify today. Thank you.

If there is no further business, the Subcommittee stands adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 2:43 p.m., the Subcommittee adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]